Hemingway’s Lounge

This classy lounge tries its damn hardest to stay on-theme with the literary world of Papa Hemingway. Tucked into Hollywood Boulevard, the vintage-looking space is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stacked with fake hardcovers and is usually just loud enough that you can hear yourself talk. It draws an an upscale artsy crowd that can afford $16 cocktails with names like, you guessed it, The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast.

Piano Bar

A cozy and low-key bar that’s a refreshing break from clubby aura of Hollywood nightlife. The refurbished dive bar venue features live music every night of the week with no cover. An in-house piano man keeps things going but gives the stage to musicians of all styles, starting at 7 PM. The crowd is mixed and sometimes dotted with celebrities and thankfully doesn’t include tourists.

Frolic Room

An iconic dive on Hollywood Boulevard, this is where Angelenos take their out-of-town friends who want a taste of old Hollywood nightlife. It’s been around online casino since the Prohibition, when it was rumored to have been a speakeasy, and its current decor is from an early 60s renovation. Old-school gentlemen waiters in suits serve reasonably priced drinks and music plays from a jukebox.

Harvard & Stone

For live music, especially of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll variety, come to this bar that’s equally known for its Friday and Saturday night burlesque dancers. Craft cocktail fans should head to the R&D Bar in the back where expert bartenders mix nightly specials. The dress code bans “shiny shirts, shorts, sports gear, logos” among other “loud” attire, so the scene is fairly calm, except for whichever band’s groupies are crowding the front.


LA nightlife maestro Bryan Rabin teamed up with DJ Adam XII to transform The Standard Hotel’s mmhmmm nightclub into a modern discotheque every Saturday night. Named after disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, the exclusive party spot with a 100-person capacity brings in A-list boogiers, from models and socialites to Lenny Kravitz and Mick Jagger. Doors don’t open until midnight, so plan your weekend accordingly.

No Vacancy

The Houston Brothers are known for adding a touch of speakeasy-secret to their nightlife spots around Los Angeles, and this three-level bar bar set in a Victorian house is no exception. Enter turn-of-the-century Hollywood through a hidden entrance and be thoroughly entertained by burlesque and tightrope performances while sipping craft cocktails, $300 punch bowls, or $5 draft beers. The scene draws a swanky crowd who were either on a list or given the go-ahead by the doormen.

The Well

For locals who’ve seen their favorite Hollywood dive bars close in recent years, there’s The Well to hold them over. It’s not a dive but it is an unpretentious hole-in-the-wall that doesn’t bring in the flashiness of Sunset Boulevard nightlife. It has one of the best happy hours in town — $2 PBRs, $7 speciality cocktails, and food deals to match. Not a bad spot to catch up with friends after work.

Lost Property

Next door to tourist trap sports bar 33 Taps is this dark and speakeasy-like whiskey-centric bar. The upscale but laidback vibe draws a varied crew: hipsters and well-dressed scenesters as well as cocktail connoisseurs there to sample spirits from all over the world. It has a calm date-night aesthetic during the week but turns clubby on the weekend, when DJs take over the soundsystem.

Ball & Chain

Hollywood’s only meatball-focused restaurant is consequently its most popular. This gastropub is no place for a dieter — if you aren’t ordering a meatball sub, there’s mac ‘n cheese, poutine, fried chicken, and other comfort foods. To fit in with its brewski neighbors on Cahuenga Corridor, the spot has a huge selection of beers and a daily happy hour with drink deals and a $5 food menu. After all, this is food to get wasted to.